“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? You wouldn’t ask why the rose that grew from the concrete had damaged petals. On the contrary, we would all celebrate its tenacity. We would all love it’s will to reach the sun. We are the rose – this is the concrete – and these are the damaged petals. Don’t ask me why, ask me how!”
Kids have dreams, passions, and visions. Somehow as we grow up those things get crushed. We get told that we need to study harder or be more focused or get a tutor. We smash the rose for what we perceive as it’s damaged petals. Our school system is grooming this world to say, “Hey, let’s be a lawyer or let’s be a doctor,” and we’re missing out because no one ever says, “Hey, be an entrepreneur with ideas and passions or see these needs in the world and decide to stand up. I think if we could get kids to embrace the idea at a young age of being entrepreneurial, we could change everything in the world that is a problem today. Every problem that’s out there somebody has the idea for.
I think we have an obligation as parents and a society to start teaching our kids to fish instead of giving them the fish — the old parable: “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” If we can teach our kids to become entrepreneurial — the ones that show those traits to be — like we teach the ones who have science gifts to go on in science, what if we saw the ones who had entrepreneurial traits and taught them to be entrepreneurs? We could actually have all these kids spreading businesses instead of waiting for government handouts. What we do is teach our kids all the things they shouldn’t do: Don’t hit; don’t bite; don’t swear. Right now we teach our kids to go after really good jobs. The media says that it’s really cool if we could go out and be a model or a singer or a sports hero.
So who’s starting companies, large non-profits, and having the most impact on the world? It’s these random few people and the overwhelming majority are diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Do you know that bipolar disorder is nicknamed the CEO disease? Ted Turner’s got it. Steve Jobs had it. All three of the founders of Netscape had it. I could go on and on. So we give them Ritalin and say, “Don’t be an entrepreneurial type. Fit into this other system and try to become a student.” Sorry, entrepreneurs aren’t students. We are on the fast-track. We figure out the game quick.
Some of the entrepreneurial traits that you’ve got to nurture in kids: attainment, TENACITY, leadership, introspection, interdependence, and values. All these traits you can find in young kids, and you can help nurture them.